How Far Will TIF Addicts Go To Protect Their Supply Of Public Money?

by William Skink

No matter how badly our elected officials may desire a return to the normalcy of doing the city’s business with little scrutiny from an informed public that is not going to happen, not when Brandon Bryant is facing felony charges for threatening public officials.

This confusing and deeply disturbing story is being covered closely by Dawg Majik at the blog connected to the Outer Limits Radio Show.

On February 7th the post titled Missoula Officials Distort Facts To Suppress TIF Activism described what had happened up to that point with Brandon Bryant, the alleged threats, and the decision to ban Bryant from city property. The post features a lengthy apology from Bryant, who had already been contacted by law enforcement about the ban. From the link:

Brandon posted a statement apologizing for creating anxiety, admitting his statements were hyperbolic, assuring our elected officials he means them no harm, and setting the record straight about who he actually feels angry with. I’ll give you a hint: it isn’t Missoula’s bureaucracy.

Furthermore, the police report to the Council indicates that law enforcement “Don’t believe he’s an immediate threat to any council safety,” further stating that Bryant “admitted to posting these videos to ‘incite a response’“.

The Missoula Police Department acknowledge that efforts are being made, hand-in-hand with law enforcement, to arrive at a peaceful resolution to this situation.

On the same day of the blog post (which included a portion of a mysterious dossier that Bryant received suggesting some ethically dubious real estate deals benefiting Mayor Engen) charges were formally filed by the County Attorney’s Office. Coincidence?

After charges were filed Bryant was arrested on February 11th. With this oh so dangerous and threatening disabled Veteran locked in a cage, public officials, like Vice President of City Council, Gwen Jones, expressed hope Bryant would receive help. This excerpt is from a Missoulian article published on February 13th:

Thursday, Missoula City Council Vice President Gwen Jones said she hopes Bryant “gets the resources and help that he needs” and that the council can “return to normal city government dynamic.”

“It would be irresponsible to not take something like this seriously,” Jones said.

In a new post from Outer Limits, titled Brandon Bryant Is A Political Prisoner, more context is provided about what’s been happening since felony charges were filed against Bryant. I strongly encourage readers to read the whole post.

Here’s an excerpt about what the mysterious dossier could mean if the documents prove to be real:

The documents in question, if their providence was genuine, could imperil the careers and future of not just the Mayor and his colleagues, but also the developers and businesses he allegedly received kickbacks from. In short, the stakes were raised and local elites were not comfortable. So it seems they capitalized on the only alternative in their grasp: striking back at the individuals that seem to pose the most direct threat to Missoula’s power monopoly.

Despite public statements by the Council that “efforts are being made” to connect Bryant with services, no member of the Council ever appealed to any veteran’s organization to directly seek those services.

In fact, when contacted directly the day after her public statement that efforts were being made, Council Vice President Gwen Jones disavowed her involvement or responsibility with facilitating that connection. She said it wasn’t her responsibility and she was not involved, instructing interested parties to speak to MPD officer Ethan Smith who was in charge of Bryant’s case.

But it was officer Smith who called Bryant to tell him a warrant had been issued for his arrest on the morning of 11 February 2020, instructing him to turn himself in by 2:00 PM, and warning him that if he didn’t surrender himself to the police that he would be tracked down and captured.

Far from the promised connection with services, Bryant’s incarceration actually isolates him from the necessary resources he enjoyed access to while free in his community. As a disabled veteran, Bryant’s service dog constitutes an essential part of his treatment for PTSD.

Locked in Missoula County Detention Facility, Bryant’s health and well-being are heavily compromised. The decision to jail him was made despite his cooperation with all Police orders. His incarceration also comes despite Bryant’s public apology for his previous remarks, re-avowing that he never possessed ANY intention of committing ANY act of violence against ANY City Council member, or ANY human being AT ALL.

Read both posts at The Outer Limits blog here

After pondering this dire situation over the weekend I’m left wondering how far the TIF addicts will go to protect their supply of public money. Will they destroy Brandon Bryant’s life to keep the gravy train chugging along? Will they ignore potential evidence of unethical real estate deals benefiting Mayor Engen? What will they do to protect their status quo and shut up the pesky public from asking questions about what’s being done with their money?

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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4 Responses to How Far Will TIF Addicts Go To Protect Their Supply Of Public Money?

  1. Greg Strandberg says:

    The information in the “mysterious dossier” seems flimsy at best, and I don’t think there’ll be any revelations of corruption there. From the dozen or so screenshotted documents on the site, it doesn’t seem like we have any smoking guns.

    Jackson Contractor Group does a lot of work for the city. They’ve been in the news a lot recently. On Feb. 11 KPAX told us about their work with the new MCPS admin building, noting that the company “has done a lot of work for the school district in the past with our bond projects and they always do a really great job.” In December, Jackson gave $10,000 to the Missoula Food Bank. They’re also going to construct the new Coke bottling plant. A few years ago they build the Bridge to Nowhere over Reserve.

    It seems like Outer Limits Radio Blog is trying to link Jackson Contruction with something called Maggie Development LLC, while implying that Engen is profiting under the table from all of this.

    Maybe that’s true, but I’m not seeing any proof of this. If anyone is profiting off these illegal schemes, I doubt they’d allow any proof of their doings to come out.

    This whole story reminds me of the story we heard a couple years ago, about a city council member attacking some commenter on Facebook, one that was pointing out how certain companies always get city contracts. Favoritism, sure…I believe that. It’s hard to believe the corruption angle, however, when there’s no smoking guns, and the documents listed don’t seem like that.

  2. Jiji Ortiz says:

    or say perhaps by obstructing justice in an area highly funded by TIF …
    Initially media told us that police officers had responded to an “altercation”, a “scuffle” at the POV on the night Sean Stevenson was murdered. By accounts, it’s clear that their presence was notable at the POV that night. Others attest to “their” swift response and emergency protocols immediately employed. Yet nothing remains clear about how a man considered by many to be a threat to public safety would be allowed to roam the streets. How a suspected felon could be released less than 24 hours after being charged! Who rousted what judge on a Saturday to see Perry out? Now that’s your tax dollars hard at work for your service and protection!

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